Wikiafripedia:Essays

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Essays, as used by Wikiafripedia editors, typically contain advice or opinions of one or more Wikiafripedia contributors. The purpose of an essay is to aid or comment on the encyclopedia but not on any unrelated causes. Essays have no official status, and do not speak for the Wikiafripedia community as they may be created and edited without overall community oversight. Following the instructions or advice given in an essay is optional. There are currently about 2,000 essays on a wide range of Wikiafripedia-related topics.

About essays[edit source | edit]

Although essays are not policies or guidelines, many are worthy of consideration. Policies and guidelines cannot cover all circumstances. Consequently many essays serve as interpretations of or commentary on perceived community norms for specific topics and situations. The value of an essay should be understood in context, using common sense and discretion. Essays can be written by anyone and can be long monologues or short theses, serious or funny. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. An essay, as well as being useful, can potentially be a divisive means of espousing a point of view. Although an essay should not be used to create an alternative rule set, the Wikiafripedia community has historically tolerated a wide range of Wikiafripedia related subjects and viewpoints on user pages.

The difference between policies, guidelines, and some essays on Wikiafripedia may be obscure. Essays vary in popularity and how much they are followed and referred to. Editors should defer to official policies or guidelines when essays, information pages or template documentation pages are inconsistent with established community standards and principles.

Avoid "quoting" essays as though they are policy—including this explanatory supplement page. Essays, information pages and template documentation pages can be written without much—if any—debate, as opposed to Wikiafripedia policies that have been thoroughly vetted by the community (see WAP:Local consensus for details). In Wikiafripedia discussions, editors may refer to essays provided that they do not hold them out as general consensus or policy. Proposals for new guidelines and policies require discussion and a high level of consensus from the entire community for promotion. See Wikiafripedia:How to contribute to Wikiafripedia guidance and Wikiafripedia:Policy writing is hard for more information.

Essays are located in the Wikiafripedia namespace (e.g., Wikiafripedia:Reasonability rule) and in User namespaces (e.g., User:Tony1/Beginners' guide to the Manual of Style). The Help namespace contains pages which provide factual (usually technical) information on using Wikiafripedia and its software (see below). The {{Essay}}-family templates (with several variants like {{Notability essay}} and {{WikiProject advice}}), versus the {{Guideline}} (and variants, like {{MoS guideline}}) and {{Policy}} templates give an indication of a page's status within the community. Some essays at one time were proposed policies or guidelines, but they could not gain consensus overall; as indicated by the template {{Failed proposal}}. Other essays that at one time had consensus, but are no longer relevant, are tagged with the template {{Historical}}. Current essay policy nominations are indicated by the banner {{Proposed}}. See Wikiafripedia:Template messages/Wikiafripedia namespace for a listing of namespace banners.

Types of essays[edit source | edit]

Wikiafripedia namespace essays[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Wikiafripedia:Project namespace#Essay_pages

Essays in the Wikiafripedia namespace – which are never to be put in the main (encyclopedia article) namespace – typically address some aspect of working in Wikiafripedia. They have not been formally adopted as guidelines or policies by the community at large, but typically edited by the community. Some are widely accepted as part of the Wikiafripedia gestalt, and have a significant degree of influence during discussions (like "guideline supplements" WAP:Tendentious editing, WAP:Bold, revert, discuss cycle, and WAP:Competence is required).

Many essays, however, are obscure, single-author pieces. Essays may be moved into userspace as user essays (see below), or even deleted, if they are found to be problematic.[1] Occasionally, even longstanding, community-edited essays may be removed or radically revised if community norms shift.[2]

How to and information pages[edit source | edit]
For further information, see Wikiafripedia:Information pages

Wikiafripedia's how-to and information pages are typically edited by the community and can also be found in the help namespace. They generally provide technical and factual information about Wikiafripedia or supplement guidelines and policies in greater detail. Where "essay pages" often offer advice or opinions through viewpoints, information pages are intended to clarity and explain current community practices in an impartial way (e.g., Wikiafripedia:Administration).

WikiProject advice pages[edit source | edit]
For further information, see Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Council/Guide#Advice pages

WikiProjects are groups of editors who like working together. Advice pages written by these groups are formally considered the same as pages written by anyone else, that is, they are essays unless and until they have been formally adopted as community-wide guidelines or policies. WikiProjects are encouraged to write essays explaining how the community's policies and guidelines should be applied to their areas of interest and expertise (e.g., Wikiafripedia:WikiProject Bibliographies#Recommended structure).

User essays[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Wikiafripedia:User pages

According to Wikiafripedia policy, "Essays that the author does not want others to edit, or that are found to contradict widespread consensus, belong in the user namespace." These are similar to essays placed in the Wikiafripedia namespace; however, they are often authored/edited by only one person, and may represent a strictly personal viewpoint about Wikiafripedia or its processes (e.g., User:Jehochman/Responding to rudeness). Some of them are widely respected by other editors, and even occasionally have an effect on policy (e.g., the WAP:General notability guideline originated in a user essay). Writings that contradict policy are somewhat tolerated within the User namespace. The author of a personal essay located in his or her user space has the prerogative to revert any changes made to it by any other user, within reason. Polemics against particular people, or against Wikiafripedia itself, are generally just deleted, as unconstructive or disruptive.

Historical essays[edit source | edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation's Meta-wiki was envisioned as the original place for editors to comment on and discuss Wikiafripedia, although the "Wikiafripedia" project space has since taken over most of that role. Many historical essays can still be found at Meta.Wikimedia.org.

Creation and modification of essays[edit source | edit]

Before creating an essay, it is a good idea to check if similar essays already exist. Although there is no guideline or policy that explicitly prohibits it, writing redundant essays is discouraged. Avoid creating essays just to prove a point or game the system. Essays that violate one or more Wikiafripedia policies, such as spam, personal attacks, copyright violations, or what Wikiafripedia is not tend to get deleted or transferred to user space.

You do not have to have created an essay to improve it. If an essay already exists, you can add to, remove from, or modify it as you wish, provided that you use good judgment. However, essays placed in the User: namespace are often—though not always—meant to represent the viewpoint of one user only. You should usually not substantively edit someone else's user essay without permission. To be on the safe side, discuss any edits not covered by REFACTOR and MINOR before making them. If the original author is no longer active or available, seek consensus on the essay's talk page (other editors who have worked on the essay are likely to care about it), or just write a new one.

Finding essays[edit source | edit]

Wikiafripedia:Essay directory lists about 800 essays to allow searching for key words or terms with your browser. The gist of user-written essays can be found at Wikiafripedia:Essays in a nutshell. Essays can also be navigated via categories, the navigation template (as seen below), or Special:Search (as seen below; include the words "Wikiafripedia essays" with your other search-words).

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. ↑ Miscellany for deletion (WAP:MFD) is one process that can be used by Wikiafripedians to decide what should be done with problematic pages in the namespaces which aren't covered by other specialized deletion discussion areas. Items sent here are usually discussed for seven days; then they are either deleted by an administrator or kept (sometimes with modifications, which may include moving or merging), based on community consensus as evident from the discussion, consistent with policy, and with careful judgment of the rough consensus if required. Pages which are not specifically being posted for deletion can also be moved through the requested moves (WAP:RM) process.
  2. ↑ Two examples are "WAP:Don't be a dick" and "WAP:Don't feed the divas", replaced by the heavily revised WAP:Don't be a jerk and WAP:Don't be high-maintenance, respectively, after too many incivility complaints. Conversely, an attempt to replace the rather stern WAP:Give 'em enough rope with a much more mild-toned "WAP:Let the tiger show its stripes" was rejected by consensus, and the latter eventually deleted as redundant. Some essays, like WAP:Advice for hotheads, are intentionally written with such history in mind, and are worded to not offend and to advise against using them in attempts to offend.